TBT: Fourth of July at Harriet Island, St. Paul
Harriet Island in St. Paul represents in one place many of the common patterns for river places in this part of the Upper Mississippi:
- It is named after a pioneering white person, after the first arriving settlers misunderstood native names for the place and their relationship to it.
- It has been variously bought and sold, put to public use that has varied over time as the community’s relationship to the river has varied.
- It has been engineered so thoroughly that its fundamental landform has changed; “Harriet Island” is no longer an island.
Okay, so aside from the fact that there’s really nothing “true” or “accurate” about “Harriet Island,” we can still celebrate a point in its past when it was a popular destination point for St. Paul citizens. The photo below, taken in 1904, shows the crowd that gathered on Harriet Island to celebrate the Fourth of July. Quite a crowd!
For a more conventional take on Harriet Island, see this brief note from the National Park Service.
Image source Minnesota Historical Society.